Godmonster of Indian Flats (1973): 5 out of 10: Set in the remote town of Indian Flats, Nevada, Godmonster of Indian Flats is a bizarre and campy cult classic that combines elements of horror, sci-fi, and western genres. The story follows the discovery and subsequent chaos caused by a mysterious, mutated sheep-like creature.
The film follows the journey of Eddie, a sheepherder who discovers an enormous, mutated sheep fetus after a mysterious gas emission near his ranch. Eddie takes the grotesque creature to the local scientist, Dr. Clemens, who runs an obscure research facility in town.
Meanwhile, in Indian Flats, a greedy land developer who might also be the mayor, Mr. Silverdale (E. Kerrigan Prescott), conspires with the corrupt sheriff who might also be the mayor (Richard Marion) to drive the locals off their land. Their plan is to establish a lucrative mining operation in the area.
As they work together, they uncover the shocking truth behind the creature’s origins and the connection to Silverdale’s sinister plans. With time running out, the unlikely heroes must come to terms with their differences and work as a team to put an end to the monstrous threat once and for all. (This is a quote from information about the movie. I am pretty sure none of this is on the screen. The Godmonster has nothing to do with trying to reopen mines due to the US coming off the gold standard.)
The storylines intersect when the mutated creature, now dubbed the “Godmonster,” grows to enormous proportions and escapes the research facility. The frightened townspeople panic as the monster scares some people at a picnic. Everyone gathers together at the town dump where the monster shows up and an off Broadway of version Les Misérables commences.
The Good: Above was an attempted synopsis of the plot. Everyone has a different view of what happens. So here is my attempt. Guy who sleeps with sheep goes to Reno, where he wins $200 in a slot machine. He gets drunk and wakes up in the town from Two Thousand Maniacs! which has been relocated from the deep south to just outside of Reno.
Meanwhile, there is a mutated sheep embryo, which is being grown by a mad scientist in a lab located in an abandoned gold mine just outside of town.
Meanwhile, a representative of big money interest (a suave black man named Barnstable) is trying to buy up the leases to the mine from the townspeople.
Meanwhile, there is a woman named Mariposa played by Karen Ingenthron who must be important to the plot is some way because the other characters must say her name about a hundred times during the movie.
Did I mention the lynching, the fake dog funeral complete with blindly white casket, or that all the characters are dressed in old time western garb for no apparent reason? And on top of all that, there is a mutated sheep that looks like Mr. Snuffleupagus took on a particularly bad meth habit.
And I am still leaving stuff out. Why is this all under good? Well, I often complain that you have the actors and the equipment, you might as well do something interesting. And Godmonster of Indian Flats certainly took that advice to heart.
The Bad: There is a line between interesting and entertaining. I can watch Day of the Animals, The Swarm, or even Night of the Lepus dozens of times. I am always entertained. I think one viewing of Godmonster of Indian Flats was enough for me.
The other stuff is interesting and entertaining in bits but never seems to coalesce. There is a way to pull this kind of thing off. The end of the film made me wish that Jason Robards was going to show up in clown makeup and pull everything together. Alas, that did not happen.
The Ugly: As a mutated animal attack motion picture, Godmonster of Indian Flats is a complete failure. The monster barely scares a person to death. And as a monster, the Godmonster is kind of hard to look at. It is scary but the way excessive moles and back hair are scary.
While I found other scenes entertaining in a jaw dropping kind of way. (The lynching is really well done and, as a result, is completely out of tone with the rest of the movie.) None of the other scenes really stick. Zardoz may have an equally incomprehensible plot as Godmonster, but Zardoz also has a giant floating head, gratuitous nudity, and Sean Connery in a red leather onesie.
In Conclusion: For those who thought McCabe & Mrs. Miller lacked mutated sheep, Godmonster fills a cinematic gap. For everyone else, well, it is worth a watch if just to experience the craziness on screen. I cannot ever see myself watching it again and, unlike other similar films, I don’t see myself sharing the experience as well.
Rifftrax: Godmonster of Indian Flats (2018): 7 out of 10: Rifftrax unsurprisingly is the preferred way to view this um… film. There is a classic Rifftrax line. So the Mad Scientist says we got to keep it in a state of hibernation and Mike lands “I suggest having it try to follow the plot of this movie. ”
There is also an excellent Ready Player One reference which warms my 372 Pages heart (I see that both Michael J Nelson and Conor Lastowka are credit as writers).
If there is an issue with the riffing, it would be a lack of good running gags throughout the film. Now, this is an understandable challenge. Godmonster changes genres every five minutes. The boys are so confused and overwhelmed by the nonsense on the screen they barely know where to interject. The poor film practically riffs itself.
RiffTrax: Godmonster of Indian Flats (2018) is a solid effort with a few standouts. Considering the chaos on the screen, I am not sure we could ask for much more.